Osman - Hibbert one of the best

Goodison Park ace hails team-mate defender

Tony Hibbert: Leon Osman believes Toffees full-back is one of the best in the country

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Everton midfielder Leon Osman believes team-mate Tony Hibbert is one of the best full-backs in the country.

Hibbert has made over 200 Premier League appearances for the Toffees after making his debut back in 2001 against West Ham.

The 30-year-old is one of the club's unsung heroes and Osman is delighted the defender is finally starting to receive some recognition.

Hibbert is now the club's first-choice right-back after winning a place at Phil Neville's expense and Osman believes he deserves his chance to shine.

"It's credit to him, he's a top player and I've been saying for years that he's one of the best full-backs in the country and he's finally getting his rewards for that," Osman told the Liverpool Daily Post.

"He loves playing against an out-and-out winger where he's going to get a tough battle and it's good to finally see him get the plaudits he deserves."

Tough

Everton tackle high-flying Newcastle this weekend and Osman is expecting a tough encounter, although he insists the Toffees will be going to St James' Park for the win.

"Newcastle are third in the table now they are unbeaten after 10 games of the season and are looking very strong - particularly at home," Osman continued.

"It's another very difficult game but it's one where we are going to be positive, go up there and try and get the win.

"The win there last year summed up the season for us, after adversity we came back and really triumphed.

"We had a 2-1 win and it was probably the start of a nice little run for us."